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My latest Stitch Fix

I got back very late last night from Created for Care in Atlanta.  And for anyone keeping track, yes, that is THREE weekends out of town during the last five weeks– way too many.  Each event was good and worth doing, but the cumulative effect of that much travel is pretty darned tiring.  This afternoon my teens are taking a chem test, my younger girls are outside enjoying the almost- spring air, and I’m sitting here trying to decide what to cook for dinner.  I think I’m feeling out of practice– certainly not in the mood anyway.  What to cook???

While I’m stalling on dinner, I thought I’d tell you about my latest Stitch Fix.  This time around I liked several of the items that they sent me. But I’ve spent a bit much on clothing lately, so I limited myself to only two. Here are the ones that I didn’t get.

The dress was a fun pattern, and a nice length, but the top was too fitted and the skirt flared out over the hips in a way that wasn’t flattering to my figure.  The black top had tight cuffs at the elbow, and was my least favorite look, style-wise. It looked a bit old-ladyish to me? The lavender top was lovely and soft, and VERY tempting.  I did wonder if the drapey neckline would feel like it needed constant adjustment– it had a funny little silver pendant sewn to the point of the drape to make it hang right, but I still found myself fiddling it around in the few minutes I wore it.  I might have kept it if it was in my budget though, because I really loved the color and the feel.
DressBlack

Lavendar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then here are the two that I decided to get.  The green stripe was an easy choice– it is just really comfy and fun top, something that I could wear at home any day, but also looks nice dressed up with jewelry. A friend of mine who also tried Stitch Fix said she got a red striped version of the same top and really likes it.  The chevron top also is comfortable, is a nice spring piece and looks good with a lot of different things I already have, including the navy cardigan that I got with my last fix.    So there you have it!

And now here I am, still wondering what to make for dinner…..any ideas?

Chevron

GreenStripe

 

The hair, and Stitch Fix!

The hair

First, as promised– the hair. I had to wash it today, and then went through all sorts of round brush/ wet hair/ blow-dryer clutziness trying to make it look like my miracle-working hair salon lady does.  I was in despair for awhile.  But it ended up looking somewhat similar to her results, and so I gave up for the day.  I can only hope that I will eventually master the art of working a round brush and a blow dryer in tandem.

grey thermalMoving on to clothes.  My much-awaited Stitch Fix  package came in the mail today– hooray!  As usual I am somewhat torn.  The grey thermal shirt is the least interesting item in the box and at $48 is insanely overpriced.  But it is super comfy, and has sparkles of all things– I love sparkles– and honestly, I’d probably wear it twice as often as the other dressier items, esp in the winter curled up on the couch listening to my girls read to me.

My girlieAnd speaking of my girls, isn’t the little girl next to me adorable?  Yesterday she and I watched a documentary on Netflix called ‘Jig’  telling the story of a bunch of kids going to the world Irish step-dancing competition.  So now she has decided that she might like to learn to jig. Thus the white dance-style shoes and the bright outfit.

On the left here she is again, modeling another outfit she pulled together.  It is the longing of her heart to have real glasses, and so she has several pair with the lenses punched out of them to coordinate with various outfits. And yes, she does indeed really possess the level of sass that exudes from that photo.Green jersy top 🙂

Moving on to the other items.  The green dolman style top looked very shapeless out of the box– it is nothing that I would even try on in the store–  but it looks better on me than I expected.  It is super soft jersey and I think looks cute with the black pants, scarf and boots. I am wondering what else it would look nice with?  My jean jacket was ok…maybe a vest would be fun?

The black stretchy skinny jeans also came in this fix.  They are similar to another black pair I have but are bit less bulky.  At $78 they are the spendiest item in this fix, but they are very comfy for skinny jeans, are fairly flattering, and high enough in the waist that I wouldn’t be constantly pulling them up.  I’m tempted.

Navy cardigan and striped tank

Next is this navy cardigan. I have a black one that I wear a lot, and have been wishing for one of a different color.  Lots of my wardrobe blends with navy, so I think I’d wear this lots, and it is a nice lightweight comfy layer.

The final item is the tank that I am wearing underneath the navy cardigan.  It is racerback, which means I’d only use it as an under-layer.  But it is super cute with a neckline that is not too low. I love the design on the front and the way that the bottom hem is shorter in the front and longer in the back. Fun.

Except a question:  is the front of this top too busy for a big neckace? I have a blue-stone three strand necklace that fits in the neckline of the top, but when I had it on, I wondered if it was too busy with the busyness of the medallion on the front of the tank?

Anyway.  I really like a lot of this. The one I’d easily pass on is the grey thermal, except if you keep ALL five, there’s 25% discount, which adds up to just a dab more than the cost of the thermal.  Basically, if I decide to keep four, I might as well keep the thermal too. But I’m not sure if I can justify the black pants  (I have something similar) and I’m a bit on the fence about the green. It’s cute, I think.  But is it too shapeless?  I’d love your opinion.

If you’d like a Stitch Fix delivered to YOUR door, click here, fill out the survey, and give it a whirl!

Stitch fix #6- opinions needed

I got a new Stitch Fix package in the mail today and am in need of opinions. So often I know how I feel about an item when I’m looking in the mirror, but then when I see a photo, I’m not so sure.

The one item that I’m sure I’m keeping is Plaidthe black high waist crop trousers that I’m wearing in three out of the four photos below. I’d been needing a versatile pair of pants to wear with boots, and tho these are styled like leggings, they’re made from a sturdy, stretchy denim-like fabric. They have a bit of tummy control, and truly look like pants at the ankle, not leggings. I think these will work with a lot of my longer tops.

The plaid tunic I’m wearing in this first photo feels like something I could wear on any ordinary day, but I’m not sure I like it in the photo as much as I did in the mirror, and it feels a bit snug across the shoulders.

 

This second item is a lovely color and is beautifully soft, but it kinda makes me think of Star Trek. Hmmm…

Sapphire

 

This third item is a fun style, I think, and I like the neckline.  Am thinking I might actually like my brown boots better with all the black, tho, just to break it up  little. My daughter also suggested it would work well with a belt and maybe a scarf.

Stripe

This last dress is a little blousy and 80’s-ish, but the color is lovely, and it has pockets, which is fun.

Green

What do you think is most flattering? What looks most worth keeping?

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What’s Stitch Fix?  Click here to order a ‘fix’ of your own.  Your $20 styling fee applies toward any item you keep.  Send whatever you don’t want back in a prepaid envelope. Easy peasy. For extra fun, when you sign up and refer someone, you get a $25 credit.

Stitch Fix #3- help!

I’m so spoiled to have been able to order another Stitch Fix. I wasn’t intending to do so, but several of you kind folks signed up to try the service for yourself, which gave me referral credit money to spend.  Thank you so much!  (Here’s Fix #1, and Fix #2 if you missed them.)

Last week I got a fix that was a total dud–I should have shown you the items, but I just didn’t love anything enough to even make the effort to take pictures.  I briefly considered one dress, but my hubby took one look at it and got a look of panic in his eyes  (that ‘what the heck do I say now?’ look) and so I knew even that one would not be a keeper.  It was kind of a bummer because it ate up $20 of the referral credit just to look at those items, but I still had enough credit that I decided to ask for another box.

Here’s what I got this time–this batch turned out to be much more my style.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge them and get a better look.

Blue (1)1. Blue      First up is this blue dress.  It really is too short as a dress for my taste, but I loved the color against my face and it fit well. So I tweaked it around a bit to see if I could make it work as a tunic.  I liked it with black leggings and black boots, except then the sleeveless part felt odd, so I put on a jean jacket, which was cute, but it totally took away the summer vibe.Hm.

Next I tried it with my skinny jeans, and added a brown belt and brown jewelry, which I ended up really liking.  I think I MIGHT also try it with a knee length black pencil skirt underneath, to see if that would give more coverage but still have the skirt feel.  Or, ya know, lose 20 pounds so I don’t feel self-conscious about my legs.  But even then I think the length is maybe too ‘young’ for me worn alone.

Mint top2.  Next up is this mint cowl neck tee.  It fit well, the color was good on me, and I liked the flowy motion of the style. But it had kind of an elegant-business-lady vibe  (see my face trying to project that?) and I’m just not sure that’s me.  Plus, the color is so pale I’d probably stain it instantly.  The white shorts in the photo are already giving me fits, and I don’t really want to be fussy and worried about my clothes.

Boatneck3. You can probably tell by the expression on my face that this striped top feels like me.  (Makes me laugh how much my face gives away whether I like something– also, I’m so awkward in front of the camera– yikes!)  Anyway, I’m not sure if in a store I’d have gravitated toward these horizontal stripes –scary!  But the fabric is uber-soft, the fit is just right. and the style looks good with jeans or shorts.  It just feels like something I’ll pull out of my closet to wear over and over again.  Bonus– the fabric feels very sturdy, so I don’t think it will pill up as quickly as some t-shirts do these days.

PrintSkirt4. Next up is this adorable brown print dress– I squealed when I saw it because the pattern and the flow of it is totally me!  I really, really love it. Do enlarge the photos to see it better.  But again, the length on this dress, though longer than the blue, made me uncertain. It came with a completely separate black under-slip, which is nice for coverage, especially because the skirt is very light and flippy.  I can totally see myself wearing it out on a date with my hubby, but at church I’m afraid I’d be tugging it down and feeling self-conscious.

PrintwithSkinniesSo again, I tried it tunic-style with my skinny jeans.   I’m not sure if that truly looks OK.  Is it too long and too flippy to pretend to be a tunic?  And is the crossways pattern on the skirt flattering to my hips?  These are the questions I’m asking myself.  I really, really love the pattern, and really want to make the dress work, but I’m just not sure.  What do you think? I’m seriously thinking about keeping it for my 17yo daughter.  The colors would be gorgeous on her, I could still admire the dress 🙂 , and she’s 5 inches shorter than I am, so the length would be perfect on her.

WhiteSweater5.  Finally, they sent me this adorable short sleeve white sweater.  My 8yo took the picture, and I could see her lowering the camera about to cut off my head– thus my funny knee-bend pose. 🙂   This type of layer would be useful for a TON of different outfits– I’ve been needing something along these lines for awhile.  It fits great, and is a nice sheer layer– so much fun.

So what do you think? Which looks best on me?

If you think you’d like to try Stitch Fix for yourself, click here.  If you order a fix, a referral credit will go to me– thanks!! And if you recommend Stitch Fix to your friends, you can get credit as well.

So whaddaya think?  What should I keep?

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Stitch Fix, swimming and summer

I’ve got a million things buzzing around in my brain these days, many of which never seem to make it to my blog. In some cases that’s probably good- I’d bore you to death! But there are some things you might be interested in.  I’m waiting for the shade-cloth to arrive to finish off our patio cover, and then I’ll be able to show you pictures of that.  I’m still trying to decide whether to stain those wicker chairs I thrifted last year.  I also want to make cushions for them.

4thOn my agenda for today–  stain the pool deck.  Years ago we found a used above-ground pool being sold by an older couple.  We were set to pay their price but when we trundled over with the whole clan to pick it up, they insisted on selling it for less than their asking price, which means we got a really nice pool for $300. And they were delighted their pool went to folks who would use it. Sweet, sweet people!

John built a deck next to the pool, under a tree that we’ve so much enjoyed.  It’s several years old now and has gone positively grey with age.  You can kind of see the grey in this picture from a couple summers ago.  Yesterday I borrowed my dad’s pressure washer, and one of our teenage boys spent an hour or two pressure-washing it.  There was good wood under all that grey!!  It looks just wonderful now.  So today we’ll stain it and give it a clear coat, and it should be good for a few more years.  I’ll show you some ‘after’ pictures of that soon too.
St-skirtStriped tank topA few of you asked what I picked from my last Stitch Fix package.  I went with the navy striped tank top and the houndstooth skirt.  I’ve already worn the skirt three times–I just love it. Once I paired it with a black ruffly sleeveless blouse and a coral shrug, once with a pink t-shirt, and another time with a purple t-shirt.

I’m on the hunt for a pair of bright sandals or pumps at a thrift store– maybe pink or turquoise?– because I think it’d be fun to wear the skirt with a matching top and shoes.  Also I’m keeping my eyes open for more bright solid color tanks and t-shirts, because they’re so useful for so many things. I try not to go too nuts over clothes, because I don’t want to spend too much.  But I’ve had a lot of fun putting together my Pinterest Style and Loveliness board over the last year or so.  You can click on the picture below if you want to see more.

PinterestStyle

This week I’m also thinking about how to arrange our summer schedule once school is done.  (Some kids are days from done—-hooray!– and some still have another month to finish up their math books.)  We always do better in the summer if we have at least a loose check-off list for each day, though in the summertime the time is much less structured. All of the teens will be working for other folks here and there during the week (yard work, painting, babysitting, mowing, etc) so we’ll need flex around all that coming and going.  Here’s how I’m thinking that list will probably look this summer.

The Daily Five

  • Garden 1 hour
  • Read 1 hour
  • Daily house clean-ups (30 min after lunch)
  • 20 minutes of movement (walking, biking, running)
  • Today’s Special 1 hour (before lunch)

Last summer we did a ‘daily thing’ that worked pretty well.  It varied the activities during the week, kept math going just a bit so kids didn’t forget so much, and let us fit in a few things that we sometimes don’t get around to during the school year. This year I think it will look like this:

Today’s Special

  • Monday-Math
  • Tuesday-Library/$1 Movie (alternate weeks)
  • Wednesday-Crafts
  • Thursday-Music/Swim Day
  • Friday-Spanish

Some of the activities are tied to a time of day, and some are more up to the kids.  I’ll probably let kids sleep til 10 if they want, and ask that they get everything done by dinnertime.  We’ll see how it all works, and if that amount of structure is enough to keep things rolling around here.

I’m so much looking forward to a slower pace!  May is always is SOOOO busy, and lately I’ve been scurrying around like a nutcase, sure I’m going to miss something important.  Is your May crazy too?  What are you looking forward to doing with your kids in the summer?

Stitch Fix #2- which should I pick?

Today I got another Stitch Fix package in the mail.  It is really fun to see what they come up with for me to try– definitely not stuff I’d have considered— but again the price tags gave me sticker shock.  I just don’t tend to spend $48 on one thing, so this service feels pretty splurgy. I probably could do better spending an afternoon at the mall and shopping for myself.  But I’ve got the package here now, and I am going to choose one, or maybe two of these items.  I’m curious to hear what you think looks best.  All poses compliments of my 8yo daughter who has way more pose ideas than I could ever come up with.  So lay it on me– which would you pick if you were me?

1. Black and white jacket  – When I first saw this jacket, I thought it was kind of old-ladyish, but I ended up liking it more than I expected.  It’d be better with some color, I think.  It is a little snug across the shoulders though.
St-Jacket

 

2. Navy v-neck dress.  I didn’t do a great job photographing the details of this dress.  It is sleeveless, so most of the time I’d probably wear a shrug over it as shown. (Upper arm anxiety, ya know?)  It has a surplice style v-neck that’s not too low, and the color and fit was slimming and flattering to my figure.  The fabric has a nice quality feel. The length is a teensy bit shorter than I usually wear, but I think it is not too short.  I am not the greatest at styling things, but I had the feeling that with the right jewelry and other accessories  this could be a really, really versatile and useful piece.
 Navy dress

 

3. Navy striped tank top.  This tank would be a good layering piece, I think.  I like the easy flow of it, and the fact that it is longer in the back than the front. This is the type of thing I’d probably wear once or twice a week.
Striped tank top

4. Houndstooth skirt.   I think this pattern is really fun, the fabric is good quality, and I like the small flare and the length of the skirt.  It is figure-flattering, even from the back. Did have trouble finding a top that looked right with it.  It  needs something fitted on top to balance out right, I think.    Might be good with a brighter t-shirt.  Could probably go quite a few directions with it.  I’m never sure about shoes….
St-skirt

Would you like to try this service for yourself?  Click here to tell Stitch Fix that I referred you, and if you opt to place an order, I’ll get a $25 credit on my next order.  Then if you like the service, you can refer friends and get shopping credits yourself!

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Here’s what I ended up picking!

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Stitch Fix- my first fix

I’m back from Created for Care! Wonderful weekend and I’ve got some posts planned to process some of the highlights of what I heard— good stuff. But that’ll take a bit of time to write, so today I’ve got a poll for you. There’s a fun company called Stitch Fix that quizzes you about your style choices, size, color preferences, etc, and then puts together a whole box full of items that you can then try on and decide if you want to buy or not. One ‘style’ session is $20, but that $20 credit can be put toward any or all of the items in your style package. And if you decide to buy every item in the package, you get a 25% discount on the whole thing.

I suspected this service would be a little too spendy for tightwad me, but I was intrigued by the fun of trying things on that someone else picked, and decided to try it out just once. My style package came today and included 3 blouses, a sweater and a pair of earrings. The earrings (I’m wearing them in every picture below) are adorable— love, love, love them. But there’s no way on God’s green earth that I’m paying $48 for a pair of earrings, so they’re definitely going back. I am sorely tempted by a couple of the items of clothing, but am having a hard time trying to decide which is best on me. They range from $48-$68, so I will definitely NOT be buying more than one item.  I thought it might be fun to ask your opinion– what do you think works best on me?

 

1. Long Peach Cardigan
PeachCardi

 

2. Grey Lace Top

GreyLace

 

 

3. Navy Houndstooth Blouse

Houndstooth

4. Pink Long Sleeve Blouse

 

Pink

 Click here if you’d like to try Stitch Fix for yourself!  It’s a lot of fun!

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Are you expecting?

Just wanted to quickly share some fun news from Stitch Fix this morning– they are expanding their line to include maternity and petite! Here’s my referral link if you’d like to give Stitch Fix a try.

 

To make their maternity launch even more fun, Stitch Fix is hosting a $5000 maternity/baby giveaway in March. To enter that giveaway, you’ll need to do three things:
1. Go like Stitch Fix on Facebook.
2. Nominate yourself or a friend on the Stitch Fix Facebook wall, and share about the new Stitch Fix Maternity line on your Facebook page.
3. Ask friends to vote for your nomination.

A winner will be announced March 30th. Good luck!

 

Frugal Friday

How did your week go? I have a few things to report in the frugality department, but nothing hugely earth-shattering.

  • I went grocery shopping on Tuesday with a list and a menu plan, so my shopping was fairly thorough.
  • I found 10-lb ‘chubs’ of ground beef at Walmart marked down to $20 each, so I bought two. Then I came home and made hamburger patties and meatloaf.
  • I made chili for dinner one evening, enough to serve for another meal also.  We had enough from a couple other meals for several lunches during the week, and as usual I tucked some leftovers away in plastic containers in the freezer to be used as my husband’s work lunches.
  • I found apples for 88 cents a pound, so I bought quite a few.  Also in the produce section I resisted the urge to buy strawberries (sigh) and stuck with the fruit that’s most affordable now, my typical stand-bys:  apples, oranges, bananas.  I just last week overheard a produce lady in Fred Meyers tell a customer that most grocery stores take a loss on bananas, milk, and eggs, because they know customers will go elsewhere if their prices aren’t competitive.
  • I bought quite a few things in bulk on my big shopping trip, including beans and oats.  I store that type of thing in large 2-quart canning jars in the pantry, and when I empty out the sacks from the bulk department, I always shake out the crumbs and save the bags to be used again.
  • As usual, we washed clothing with our homemade laundry soap.  Emily made another batch this week.  Also as usual, we dried
    Soap making

    Making soap

    large and heavy items (jeans, towels, blankets) on the long bars that we have in our laundry room.  This decreases the wear on the dryer and allows smaller things get done in the dryer more quickly.

  • Whenever the power bill comes, I compare this month this year to this month last year, and was pleased that this year we used quite a bit less power than last year, probably because January was such a warm month.  We mostly heat with wood, but in the middle of the night on very cold nights, the furnace goes on for awhile. But this January was so warm that I don’t think that happened often.  John reports that the wood pile is much bigger than he expected for this time of year.
  • I decided to go with just the jacket and jeans from yesterday’s Stitch Fix.  That’s what I had enough credits to buy, and those were the only two pieces I truly loved anyway.  And since I did like the grey tee, I’ll keep an eye out for something similar at a lower price.
  • I found some nice duffel bags with wheels at Walmart.com for $14 each.  They are HUGE, and should be really great for packing lots of clothing.

 

Related to the duffels, but on a decidedly NOT frugal note, we just bought 5 plane tickets for Ethiopia for this summer.  I’ll be taking our 4 Ethiopian daughters for a homeland visit.  We’re meeting my sister Sophie there, and will be gone for two weeks. So very exciting! It seems like most of our not-frugal things are related to travel–I guess you could look at that either as our Achilles heel or as the reason we do all the frugal things.  We’ll need to update passports soon too.  Three are expired and two of the kids have never had them.  So that will be a pretty penny.  At least we know far enough ahead to avoid rush shipping.

That’s all I can think of for today.  I’d love to hear what you did this week that helped your budget!

PS– If you buy Practical Homeschooling (my latest e-book) and would like the 5-page bonus pack that contains additional info and transcript writing samples, just email me, and I will head it your way.  I’d also LOVE it if you’d share on facebook and tell your friends about the book– proceeds from this book are going to our Ethiopia travel fund.  🙂  And remember, if you’re not quite sure this book is for you, zip over to amazon and read the first few pages for free.  It ended up being an 85 page book and is loaded with info, a fair bit of which could easily translate to enrichment ideas and homework helps for kids in traditional school.

Frugality this week

This week I’ve been Christmas shopping, which tends to lead to feelings of non-frugality. But I felt good about overall resisting the siren call of Black Friday shopping, which often seems to end up with me impulse-buying a fair number of random items.  I did buy a few carefully chose items online for excellent prices.  It’s always fun when the UPS man comes bearing goodies.

I opted not to renew amazon prime this year.  Yes, the free shipping is nice.  But I find that when I have prime, I am much quicker to impulse-buy on amazon.  Amazon is already my budget’s Achille’s heel. I just shop smarter if I put an item in my cart and then force myself to wait til I have $35 worth of merchandise (to get the free shipping) before hitting that ‘buy’ button.  Half the time when I wait, I end up deciding is not as important as I first thought to own that particular item.

At Wal-Mart this week I happened upon 10-lb logs of ground beef marked down to $2o each.  It has been probably half a year since I’ve been able to find ground beef for less than $3 a pound, so I bought 40 pounds.  Seemed extreme to spend $80 on ground beef in one trip, but who knows when I’ll see the price that low again.  I probably actually should have bought more than that.

Table sparkleI bought 40 pounds of potatoes for 99 cents/10 pounds.  That’s a LOT of food for $4.

I copied a Pinterest idea for some sparkle on the dining room table using items I already had.  Looking at the photo I think I’ll remove the natural items and redo it with all glass balls, but it is fun the way it is too. The tiered tray is something I made a few years ago using gorilla glue and thrift store candlesticks and plates in different sizes.  Originally it was used to serve cupcakes at our oldest daughter’s wedding.

Our Christmas tree is getting very old and tired. I think we got it in 1999 for $70, so I think we’ve gotten our money’s worth from it. I was sorely tempted to take advantage of Black Friday sales to buy a new one.  But instead I opted to use it for (at least) one more year.  Once decorated, it didn’t look half bad.  And even on a good sale, the type of tree I had in mind would have been $100.  So it’s just as well that I waited.

I wanted to support a brand new Ethiopian restaurant called Kibrom’s in Boise, but didn’t have much in the eating-out budget.  So instead of bringing everyone and getting a full meal, we stopped in and bought injera plus a triple batch of our favorite entree (doro wat) and asked them to package it up for take-out.  They got some business, and we all had a taste of yumminess at a lower price.  Another time we’ll bring everyone there to eat, but this was a nice compromise.

That’s all I can think of for now.  On Monday I’ll share my latest Stitch Fix goodies.  I’d love to hear how your frugality efforts are going this month, especially related to holiday expenses.